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City seeks input on Silver bicycle boulevard

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Aaron Sussman, a planner with Bohannan Huston Inc., delivers a presentation regarding possible improvements to the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard during a public meeting at the Special Collections Library on Thursday. (Steve Knight/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — City officials are seeking feedback from the community for improving the portion of the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard that runs from Yale SE west to the Paseo Del Bosque Trail, a five-mile trek that connects the University of New Mexico/Central New Mexico Community College area, Presbyterian Hospital, Downtown and Old Town.

A project team, consisting of representatives of the city and the Albuquerque-based civil engineering firm Bohannan Huston Inc., made presentations to the Greater Albuquerque Bicycling Advisory Committee and to the public last month, part of an information gathering phase of the study focusing on current issues along the corridor and potential conceptual improvements.

“We’ve got a team of engineers and planners looking at this,” said Aaron Sussman, a planner with Bohannan Huston Inc., during a public meeting at the Special Collections Library on Thursday. “We’re looking at challenges along this corridor. We’re looking at them from multiple perspectives, not just an engineering perspective.”

Sussman provided the public with an overview of the project scope, which includes reviewing and considering portions of the Silver Avenue Bike Boulevard from Yale Boulevard to 14th Street and the 14th Street Bike Boulevard from Silver Avenue to Mountain Road.

Officials are also seeking ideas on how bicyclists can traverse what Sussman described as major design challenges – the railroad crossing from Second Street to Broadway and the Interstate 25 underpass, which has had high numbers of vehicle-related crashes at intersections and four bicycle-related crashes from 2012 to 2016 at Lead and I-25.

The public meeting also included initial recommendations for improving the boulevard, which include providing a connection to Bosque Trail from 14th Street and Silver Avenue, developing Silver as a bike boulevard from Arno to Locust streets and installing signs along Silver providing information on access to numerous destinations and historic neighborhoods, as well as distance to destinations.

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This photo shows an 18 mph speed limit sign along with a Bicycle Boulevard sign on Silver Avenue in Albuquerque. (Steve Knight/Albuquerque)

Officials plan to present preliminary conceptual designs for the boulevard, as well as recommendations on key improvements for signs and roadway striping to the public for its feedback in January.

“We have a project that needs to be updated,” City Councilor Isaac Benton told the meeting. “It’s time to apply some of those lessons that have been learned over the years with the existence of the bicycle boulevard. It’s really important to hear from neighbors and users of the bike facility like yourselves.”

The Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard was constructed in 2009 after passage of a City Council resolution calling for the creation of bicycle boulevards to serve all levels of cyclists, using local streets to provide routes with low vehicle and infrequent stops and detours for cyclists.

The initial Bicycle Boulevard route ran from the Paseo Del Bosque Trail connection on Mountain Road to San Mateo SE, connecting the Paseo Del Bosque Trail, Old Town, BioPark, Downtown, CNM, UNM, Nob Hill and the Highland area.

Since initial construction of the boulevard, the city has conducted improvements, including a traffic circle at Silver SE and Cornell SE and a bidirectional protected lane on Carlisle in front of Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

There also have been changes in the area, including construction along Central associated with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus line, improvements to Lead and Coal and new residential development.

Bicycle boulevards have been expanded to run along Quincy NE, Copper NE, Alvarado NE, Summer NE, California NE, Bellamah NE and Dakota NE, connecting the system farther east from Nob Hill to Tom Bolack Urban Forest in Uptown.

To see the public presentation slides and boards, visit tinyurl.com/y7kd8vaz.

For more information or to submit feedback, email Sussman at asussman@bhinc.com or Petra Morris with city of Albuquerque council services at pmorris@cabq.gov by Sept. 17.

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